Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Posting Because I Say I Do

It's been a week since I I'm posting because I claim I post at least once a week.

Nothing much has been going on. Tuesday I took an almost 2 hour road ride with Lydia and Stewy... that was fun. In the afternoon, I gave pony rides on Daisy to two kids I'm babysitting. The little boy, 5, was a little unsure about it all. "We're riding on stones...that's bad right? What if I fall?...Ok I'm ready to turn now. Please turn. She's not going to go faster right?" (Imagine Daisy barely taking a step every second. That. slow. ;) His sister, 7, picked it up faster. Riding up hill, I told her to lean forward. As we went to go down "Do I lean back now?" :) smart kid.

I rode Ladd on Monday. He was INCREDIBLE. I hacked him out and he was amazing. We trotted and cantered and survived! I took him out again wasn't quite as good, he still behaved but he was stronger than on Monday...but in all it was a good ride. Tomorrow I have...*gasp*...another lesson on Ladd with Karin. :P Ohhh goodness. What shall the day bring?
Otherwise, there is nothing really to report. I've been riding Bubba bareback which is loads of fun. He's really smooth for trot and canter; good boy. I'm riding him (with a saddle ;)) in a parade on the 4th of July.

Otherwise...nothing much. I'm battling a fever this afternoon, weirdly...hoping it will be gone for my lesson tomorrow.

Tootles, ;)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mostly Jumping Ladd

I rode Ladd again today...and jumped. Again, my arms stink :P
Just keep ridin', just keep ridin'....and hopefully my arm strength will catch up :P
The jumping was my arms got tired, it got bad :-/...but this video is decent ;) :P Thanks for filming, Mom!

I also rode Daisy bareback on the trail today...and took her out in the woods (off the trail), picking small trees that were down, maybe down but not flat on the ground (so they were off the ground a bit and taller) and jumping them. She liked it :)

Tomorrow's schedule includes Ladd, Bubba, and Daisy :) Life is good.

Anyone here mix their own natural fly spray? I'm currently using black tea, tea tree oil, and ACV, because that's what I have at home...but I think I'm going to order essential citronella oil and lemongrass oil soon...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lesson on Ladd, Game Show, and Jumping

I had my lesson with Karin on Ladd Friday. That was...just as insane as my other lessons with Karin. It's sort of hard to describe :P but I'll try my best.
We started out just working on circles, getting him to bend and getting me to sit up straighter. Height apparently hinders sitting up straight; apparently I have a turtle back :P. I think I knew that already.
We worked on circles at a trot first, then moved to a canter, and it actually went really well. I thought the lesson would revolve around Ladd and how to ride him better...but in the first half of the lesson I had the thought "Wait...I'm riding Ladd!" because he was so good, we were focusing so much on me and how I was riding, I sort of forgot who I was on. :)
Jean warned me the other day about taking breaks. She said that, though Bubba is known for doing better if you ride him, then walk him a bit, give him a break, and then keep going, Ladd is the complete opposite. He's bad after breaks.
He was really really good the first half. Then I got tired cantering (my biceps are not used to that work at all :-/), and Karin let us walk and rest. We went back to "riding" riding, and was insane. We were cantering, my arms were SCREAMING. She was talking about riding "up" not "rocking" with his canter, not letting my mid-body move, just letting my hips move, and hugging him more with my ankles and legs to quiet my body and allow him to canter more forward and "springy" like for jumping...It went ok at first. But then...I don't know. The entire time we were cantering I was conscious that I was breathing in gasping breaths through my mouth, because I was working hard...but at some point it just went downhill. His break made him even stronger yet (such an event horse :P) and we were doing a canter in a small circle, and he just went faster...and faster....and faster. And Karin was telling me "slow your body and he'll slow down, just make your body quiet" and telling me all this other junk, but...I was gasping for breath. I
could not stop him. I was trying so hard and he was going faster and faster and I'm GASPING for air, saying incoherent things as I gasp for breath, things such as "crap...Karin...dying....can't breathe...can't arms....can't stop....gasp gasp" etc. Seriously, you can laugh. Of course looking back my pathetic-ness is hilarious, but that point...holy canoli, I seriously truly believed I was going to, just bail and fall on the ground and pass out. And of course she's telling me what to do and I'm not listening to a word and there comes the inevitable "good, that's better! Good" and I'm like "Lady, I have not listened to a word you're saying, I'm just trying to survive the next time around this canter circle, but I'm glad I'm apparently improving". I'm not really sure how, but I guess I did manage to slow my body, because I did get him to a walk again...Karin was like "Melissa! I thought you were stronger than that!" (sheepish grin...or grimace....). In the end, I walked him out while Karin set up a crossrail for Oliver's lesson coming up...or so I thought. I'm all relaxed, cooling out, breathing through my nose again, and she says "Ok, pick him up to a trot again and take him over the crossrail".
She just had to be kidding me.
I'm thinking along the lines of: if he's strong on the flat, I do NOT want to experience a jump on him quite yet.
I was like "Yeah I talked to Jean. She was like 'I will be seriously jealous if you're the first to jump him' ". Karin was like "Oh it's fine, just take him over."
Oky-dokey then.
He was great jumping. He
stayed to a trot. He didn't rush the fence, and he cantered after but came back down fairly easily. We jumped it four times (!) ( ;) :P) and I'm still alive to tell the tail. It was a tiny jump, but he rounded really nicely over it :) Good boy.
So it ended on a good note. Of course, I was sore, Sore, SORE the next left calf still hurts to the touch, and I have a blister all up the middle part of my right hand ring finger :P. And my shoulders killed (it's seriously so hard to keep them rolled back :-/ )
I'm going to ride him again tomorrow and official last exam was today and I'm free!!

So onto my pony, who is just absolutely amazing and such a great ride compared :P (I do really like riding Ladd....Daisy's just simple(r) all the time :P)

We went to an evening game show with our 4H club on Saturday, but had a practice mounted meeting the night before. We practiced games, and pick-up race, where you race down the end of the ring, pick up another rider, and race back. I practiced with Sara from our club (You don't know our club so I don't have to specify which sara; there are 3 :P). She sat behind Daisy's western saddle and rode around walk and trot...I told her she couldn't leave without trying a canter "Fine...ONE STRIDE" (easier said than done, haha :P) We went into the canter, and ended up doing it way more than one stride :P Daisy was really awesome for it. She wasn't phased at all :)

Game show went well...Didn't end until just before midnight (starting at 5) and that was with one event scratched, but Daisy was good. We actually placed (!!!) 5th in Keyhole which was a big deal because we NEVER place, and we didn't even get last place! (I think there were 10 people in the division). We didn't place in poles (pictures below). We were doing really well, but she was so into gamer-mode, she turned and skipped the second pole of the we had to go back and do it (that's why she's on such an angle below) and lost time.
We did quadrangle barrels and she was AWESOME. I really think we should have placed; she had neat, tight turns, and a lot of speed...cloverleaf was our last event and I didn't push her, we didn't place; no surprise. It was a lot of fun though :) and I really think the vinegar is making a difference.

Then yesterday I jumped her in Jean's arena...stadium jumps on her are really disappointing...she definitely jumps XC way better....simply because the she takes the jumps seriously. She just blows off stadium :P So there's the video below....I know I really shouldn't two point so much...or at's just so habit, and I need more time jumping to force myself not to do it.

Also, does anyone have any experience clicker training horses? It looks like fun; just want some input.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I rode Ladd for the first time Tuesday, with my goal being to ride him twice before Friday (tomorrow), when I have a lesson with Karin on him.

My first ride was pretty interesting...I got a huge blister on one finger, and he was really up, still went well.
This morning my mom came and took pictures and videos of me riding him.
Do you see how tall he is? At least 17 hands. He's just as tall as I am!

I didn't have my hair pulled back :P because I had a test to take at school after and I didn't want to look horrible (I know...I shouldn't care...) so my hair looks a little funny under the helmet :P but I'm choosing to look past it.

I think Ladd looks awesome. He's very handsome.

I love this picture :) He's like "Oh! Kisses! For me?! Yes!". Saying he's lovable is and understatement. He is completely cuddly. No kidding.

He rides like a noodle...if there's any way to describe him. He really needs you to ask everything of him all the time; he's not one that will truly think on his own...he's smart, but he longs for guidance :P and he needs constant reassurance that he's gonna be ok :P

Our ride started out walking (of course)....notice how antsy he is just walking at first :P

I was "running the bit" the entire ride to bring his head down, but as you can tell, he'd bring it down for a few steps and then it would pop back up again :P. He definitely felt better riding today (no blisters!) and I really think the more I ride him the easier it will get. I'm excited. He'll be a fun 'project'.

His noodle-y-ness is the reason my butt pops out of the saddle cantering :P I'm workin' on that.

I didn't really realize HOW tall he was until I saw the video of me on him...together, we're HUGE! Tomorrow I have a lessen with Karin :) Should be interesting (and COMPLETELY exhausting :P) Daisy goes to Jean's tomorrow for a mounted meeting and FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY *crossing fingers times a million that it won't rain* we'll have a first show on Saturday! Evening game show, 5pm to about 10.

And now, my eyes are falling closed as I type :P so I'm off to bed. Lots of riding tomorrow!
Thanks sooo much to Jean for sharing Ladd with me and to my Mom for driving me and taking pictures and videos :)

More videos on my mom's youtube.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Apple Cider Vinegar

I've been doing research again. (or as usual)
Back when I got Daisy, someone commented that I should be careful with using chemical fly spray because it can have bad side effects when you inhale it...and I've felt increasingly weary about using it. I've finally cut myself off :) I researched the possible side effects. Have you ever read up on the warnings? Bronco fly repellent, for example, has warnings online that say:

Harmful if swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through skin. Avoid breathing spray mist. Avoid contact with eyes, skin or clothing. Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling. Remove contaminated clothing and wash before reuse.

Research says insecticide use is linked to Parkinson's disease. Google produces quite a few stories of other ailments linked to fly spray any case, I'm not really sold on it anymore :P (Hey, it kills flies. What does it do to us and the horses?)
I've been researching a lot on what kind of fly sprays can be made naturally. I bought Absorbine Ultrashield Green fly repellent to use until I figure something out (it's all natural, and works pretty well).
I researched feeding garlic to horses to combat flies. There was some good information, but there were some scientific studies that said it could be harmful to horses. No such stories about ACV though.
I've been using ACV mixed with tea tree oil to treat thrush in Daisy. Now people say if you feed about a 1/4 cup of unpasturized (organic) ACV to horses with meals it will make their blood more acidic so flies won't bite. It does a ton besides repel flies (just check out this forum post). It can:

  • Repel flies (blood acidity level)
  • Be used on the outside of wounds to help them heal (had to help hair grow back)
  • It can be used externally to help skin conditions (like rain rot)
  • Promote better digestion
  • Help arthritic horses (results in less pain and more free movement)
  • Reduces algae in water tanks when added
  • Reduces (or gets rid of? This is all based of people's personal experience so...who knows for sure) Ulcers
  • Makes coats silkier and shinier
  • Has been known to help against fatigue and migraines in humans
  • Works for weight loss (for those pudgy ponies ;))
  • And heals sore throats in humans.
So of course don't really quote me on anything because I'm just quoting others.
I've started giving Daisy the 1/4 cup with meals. At first she totally refused to eat it, now she'll eat most of her grain at once, and finishes it off later :P
It also works as a spray on fly repellent...I think I may do that (mixed with black tea and maybe some other oil (that I need to buy) like Thyme or Lemongrass or Rosemary). I added it to my store bought stuff and it right away worked better.

And so...I'm a new fan of ACV :)

Sunday Stills: Eyes

Honestly, one of the first things I thought of with this topic was this kind of eye:

And then of course my favorite eye, my pony, Daisy-Mae.

And this little ham if Groenemeyer, named after the German singer. My uncle died suddenly January 2007 and he had joked about naming a pet Groenemeyer.
Thus, my amazing barn cat (most people who meet him agree he's amazing. I have many threats of thievery. Be jealous ;))
We all should have a Mr. Gronemeyer. :)

You can't say you don't love that face. Even if you're not a "cat person".

This one is last because the quality is cats dragged this dragonfly into the barn a week ago, but by the time I got the camera and started taking pictures it had revived itself and it's wings were beating so..hence blurriness.

But take a look at those huge all that blue really eye?!
Must be a great view.
Check out more eyes at Sunday Stills!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Daisy, Bubba, and the Ladd-y Boy

Hey readers who I know exist but don't comment? What's up?
(Note: I don't care that much about comments...but I do like to know that people are reading. So like one time if you wanna let me know through a comment that you live in like What-The-Heck-istan and you read my blog I'd love to hear that. Thanks. :))

Quick shot of Daisy...she's not square though. I wanna try to get a level picture of her square.
ROAD SIGN! That was the exciting part of our week. New road signs were put up. Obviously by the picture below showing how close we are to the sign you can tell Daisy didn't really have a huge problem with it :)

I rode the 5.2 mile block in spurs this afternoon...should use spurs more. It was so great :)

Rode Bubba this morning. My mom took pictures and videos :)
He has a trot and canter that sort of forces you to flow with sometimes I think I must look like I sort of squirm in the saddle,'s just his way of going.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures of me smiling on his back. :P So I look so forced and grumpy and focused...haha. Oh well.

I rode in the jump saddle because I couldn't find his dressage one...I like the dressage one better. :P I'm not used to the jump saddle.

My first ride on Ladd will be Tuesday when Jean can be there. :)

I absolutely adore this picture. The lighting makes it look great. I love that horse. :)

Alrightyyy....I'm off to bed. Last day of school Monday, plus three Regents the following two weeks...but basically...I'm free! :D
Evening game show (5-10ish pm) next week Saturday. :)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What I Did When the Show was Canceled

The show was indeed canceled due to rain.

So I still haven't had a first show of the season :P

I went to the barn and rode Daisy, and...needless to say, I think I'm really glad we didn't have a show. We would have been terrible; SHE was terrible today. She kept sticking her nose in the air like "remember what it was like back when I didn't come on the bit?! Let's reminisce!!" Which of course was much appreciated. Not.

So...after much struggle to do circle work and get on the bit and get an inside bend, I finally got off and hooked up the side reins....and she was much better. I have videos from my phone but haven't uploaded them.

While I tacked and had my back turned, Daisy squirted in the aisle.
Of course. She's in heat. And was by Bubba and Ladd for goodness sake.
Yeah. This was their reaction (notice Ladd is doing it in the back too):

At least someone enjoyed it. :P

So, note to self, never give Daisy days off. ever. It only makes rides miserable :P

SO! I have exciting is out the 14th, and then I'll start going to Jean's during the week (at least 3 days a week) to ride Bubba and...LADD!
Lets refresh our memory. Here's the handsome boy:

And he's at least 17 hands. And he's 7. And has evented to Training level I think. Jean's really busy with our club and lessons and boarders and such, and asked me to help her condition him...and I totally jumped on it. I think it'll be completely awesome. Hopefully the week of the 14th I'll take a lesson with Karen on him, and then I'll start riding him, and Jean will maybe she'll actually make it to an event this year. He had a suspensory injury last year spring but has been cleared to ride for awhile now.

And now I must go,

Sunday Stills (I know; it's been forever): Black & White

I think now that's summer's basically here, I'll be doing Sunday Stills again :)
Just six days of school left! It may be only six days, but this last week has been full of school work.....ew.

Things like Geometry (luckily, that's one of my favorite classes).
Interesting how I didn't notice how dusty and old my calculator looked until I took a macro :P

I was assigned My Sister's Keeper as a summer read...started reading it before the official assignment came out and...looks like I'll need to read it again before the summers over because I didn't annotate this first time around...oh well.

This is my attempt at representing horses and dirty barn work without a horse ;)

I'm so busy...but it's so beautiful out. I can barely make it through school; summer is calling me!

Check out more black and white shots at Sunday Stills!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

XC Schooling & An Old Friend

The schooling was a lot of fun! The picture above is from our group.
Left to right: Lina on Millie, Oliver on Phoenix, Me on Daisy, and Katie on Allie.
(Picture by Lina's dad)

We stuck to the small intro jumps this time...which was sorta boring, but I think it was good; Karen said since Daisy's not used to jumping yet this season we should take it slow. She was pretty tired out by the end so it's probably good we didn't do more than we did. There were about 10 jumps I think. As she did in October, Daisy tried to get out of jumping the first two jumps, but once I forced her to do them, she gave up and NEVER ONCE refused! It was awesome! :) I was so proud of her. We even did our first bank jump. All of the horses but Daisy stopped in front of it before they'd go up; Daisy just took it "in stride" (hehe) :). It turned out to be a different course than from the links I posted :( the schooling for that course is this week Wednesday...I wish I could say I was going (because we may do an intro event there late in the season so it'd be great to school it) but with all my schoolwork, and money, and such...I don't think it will happen.

Bank jump below:

Jean took pictures and filmed the entire course again but she can't get her camera to work on her PC currently...hopefully I'll have pictures soon. The above picture is just of a still of a video. I do have all the videos because it was my camcorder, I'm just waiting for her pictures to be able to put together a video like last time. :)

In the meantime, I made this lame little movie....used pictures and put them together. I just thought it was cool to see how her body moves as she jumps.

And now! Drumroll....I visited Patchy on Thursday! The last time I saw him was fall of 2006. My mom surprised me after school and said we were going there. It was so cool. So many of the horses I learned to ride on were still there; including my Patchy boy. It was so so great to see him; my mom got a photo with my cell.

What a sweet little's funny though....he's SO much shorter than I remembered! :) I'm really glad I got to see him and be assured that he's still there and safe :)

The pleasure show last Sunday had a date change to tomorrow (forgot to mention that). So, our official "first show" is FINALLY tomorrow! Just crossing our fingers and saying prayers that it doesn't get canceled due to rain.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Parade and Upcoming Cross Country Schooling

Quick post!

The parade on Bubba yesterday went really really well. Bubba could have had a great career as a police horse. Nothing at all bothered him; he was amazing with everything-noise, people cheering, clapping, balloons, candy flying, motorcycles, bands, firetrucks, etc. We ended in my old Elementary school yard where the trailers had been brought too and it was so cool; all those recess wishes where I wished I had a horse to ride around came true; I got to canter Bubba around the school yard. It was pretty awesome :)

AND TOMORROW! I'm going to a schooling! I'm beyond excited; I didn't think I could go, but I did work ahead of time tonight and I'll be able to go!!! :) It'll be a squeeze with school work,'ll be so worth it. You wanna see the jumps I'll be doing? This is the intro course. I didn't do the intro course at the last schooling, but who knows what tomorrow will bring...we'll see. And this is the beginner novice course. That's what I'm expecting we'll do, but again, I'm happy with either :) it should be loads of fun. We get to try our first water crossing, and a bank!
Oliver, Jean's son is coming, and so is Katie from the last schooling, and an old friend of mine Lina. :)
Katie will be trailering Daisy, instead of Jean...which will be a first. Daisy's only been on Jean's two trailers the last three years :P but I'm pretty sure she'll be ok loading. She'll get to 'room' with Allie, Katie's horse. Remember the last schooling?

P.S. you can see Bubba and I clearly in the 3 photo, second dark bay from the left.


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